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Fourth Annual Dare2Dream Youth Leadership Conference

June 26, 2013

The 4th Annual Dare2Dream Youth Leadership Conference was held at the Phoenix College campus on Saturday, April 27, 2013. Hosted by Phoenix College, the Raul H. Castro Institute, Phoenix Union High School District and Cartwright Elementary School District, the conference brought together 500 middle school students and 150 parents, representing 48 schools, with the mission of motivating the youth to pursue their goals of a higher education and becoming active members of their community. 

Students attending the conference took part in hands-on workshops presented by Phoenix College STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professors. Workshops included presentations on engineering and the scientific method, as well as how to use current technologies like mobile devices to become journalists. 

Students also participated in workshops dedicated to encouraging community involvement, learning how to work as a team, developing their own leadership skills, and information about obtaining a college education. The workshops are meant to provide learning opportunities, as well as provide support and guidance for long-term goals. “It gives them the motivation to dream and lays the groundwork to ‘jump start’ their future educational and career pathways,” said Ofelia Cañez, director of the Raul H. Castro Institute and one of the organizers of the event. 

Parents who attended the conference also participated in workshops. This included an anti-bullying workshop, which educated parents on bullying behaviors and current trends, as well as gave parents strategies to combat bullying and tools for Internet safety. Workshops also included tips on motivating children to pursue collegiate goals (presented in Spanish), techniques on navigating new technologies (presented in English and Spanish), and the financial aid process.

The Dare2Dream Youth Leadership Conference also featured two keynote speakers. Kenny Dobbs, known worldwide for his extreme dunking capabilities on the basketball court, shared his story of overcoming obstacles in his life to achieve his dreams. Leon Quan, author of the book One Second to Think, spoke to the audience about empowerment and creating a successful life. 

Between sessions, students and parents also visited a Career Expo and Community Agency Fair, featuring the Phoenix College’s Dental Assisting Program, Disability Resources, REACH/TRiO and Career Services, as well as representatives from GateWay Community College, Glendale Community College, South Mountain Community College, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. 

The 4th Annual Dare2Dream Youth Leadership Conference was sponsored by SCF Arizona, SRP, and Watermill Express.